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The Afterlife

Home | Near Death Experiences | Immortality | Reincarnation | Around the World


There are numerous attempts made by science  to slow the process of aging and it is still a common belief that the fountain of youth maybe find someday. Avoiding the looming shadow of death has been the popular pursuit for many medical researchers.

How to prolong human existence? How to extend the boundaries of an ordinary lifespan? Gabrielle Boulianne of the University of Toronto discovered that fly life spans could be increased up to 40 percent by inserting a gene in motor neurons to make them produce more superoxide dismutase. This enzyme prevents the alteration of excess oxygen in cells into harmful substances, a sort of "cellular rusting.". Pycnogeno is supposed to drastically counter aging by eradicating those pesky free radicals which are harmful to cells, a free radical being an organic compound in which some of the valence electrons are unpaired, occurring as a normal byproduct of oxidation reactions in metabolism. DHEA, Conenzyme Q10 and many more promess to stop the death clock. Cryonics is another modern way to gain an extra life in the future against the loss of the current one.

Organ transplantation is limited until we design artificial organs as there are always more people in need of organs than there are donors. People's religious beliefs may stop them from donating organs. Even if this is not the case, families may find the prospect of having their deceased loved ones, to put it crudely, chopped up, rather shocking.

Increasingly, we hear the Greek Tithonius myth applied to the contemporary aging story. In this immortality parable, a beautiful young man asked Aurora, the goddess of morning, to make him immortal. She does. He ages continuously. Finally, pitying his never-ending dissolution, she makes him into a grasshopper.

Instead of making the oldest of the old into grasshoppers, Society and medecine have produced a population of disabled including the million or more nursing home residents so disabled that twenty-four hour care is required, and the ten thousand individuals existing in irreversible vegetative states. National estimates reveal approximately one- quarter of the aged to be in need of some type of long-term care. The American Hospital Association estimated in 1991 that some 70 percent of all deaths are somehow negotiated or timed.

Death is indispensable to nature and evolution. Without death there would be no emergence of new individuals with genes better adapted to the changing environment. Without death there would be no room for new species to emerge.

Without death there would be no mating, no birth, no parenting, no family warmth. Death is the price we pay for the enjoyment of love between man and woman, love between parent and child. Even if medical technology allowed us to abolish death tomorrow, the world would become impossibly overpopulated, not to mention that people might start getting bored.


Symbolic Immortality

The desire for immortality is a central drive of the human race. There are five major answers: biological, religious, creative, natural and mystic. “Biology enables genetic preservation through offspring; religious possibilities involve those of life after death; creative involve art or other creations left behind; natural legacies are those provided by the recycling of one's components by nature and the maintenance of nature after one's death; and mystic possibilities involve those of being part of some sort of mysterious post-life involvement.”


Eternal sleep

An opposite concept to the journey to the other world of heaven and/or hell was a parallel idea of the deceased sleeping an eternal sleep. The parallel between death and sleep was immensely common in literature and art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The above images of death abundant in funerary literature were construed as a collective response to the disordering force of death.  During the preparation of the funeral, the death-sleep was made as comfortable as possible. The clothes that were sewn for the corpse had no knots, so that these would not disturb the body. While sewing, the thread was never cut, but torn with hands, for it was believed that cut thread-ends would make the deceased uncomfortable. A sewing-machine was never used, and the stitches were carefully made wide apart from each other. No needle or pin was put into coffin. Also, one was not allowed to weep by the dead so that the tears would fall on the body - it would distract the eternal sleep of the deceased. earth.

copyright @ 2006 by DCPI